Dr Karen Anne Alexander

Assistant Professor in Marine Governance and Blue Economy, Heriot-Watt University

Dr Karen Alexander is an Assistant Professor in Marine Governance and Blue Economy, located in the International Centre for Island Technology, Heriot-Watt University, in Orkney. She has recently moved back to Scotland after working in the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies at the University of Tasmania, Australia, for the last six years – where she remains an adjunct Senior Lecturer.

Karen is particularly interested in some of the large global challenges facing our ocean: marine debris; food, water, and energy security; human health and wellbeing; and climate change. She believes that addressing global challenges needs interdisciplinary (and interinstitutional and international) collaborations.

As an interdisciplinarian, Karen combines human geography and environmental sociology (and occasionally ecosystem modelling) to investigate the interactions between communities/societies and the natural environment. She has worked on a variety of topics including ecosystem-based management, sustainable food systems, energy transitions, and equity and wellbeing. The varied strands of her work are drawn together under the overarching theme of natural resource conflict, particularly around the existing blue economy as well as the emerging blue growth industries – attempting to understand why such conflict occurs and how it can best be governed.